Links: 9-21-10 + The Hendersons

My morning read has been (temporarily?) replaced with the use of a laptop with WiFi.  Hence, a post during my morning commute.  And with that, the links that caught my eye yesterday.

The Best
1) Ever consider buying a term paper, instead of writing it yourself.  Very bad idea.  Plus, it won't even work. (Dan Ariely)

The Rest
> Is the 'Tea Party' movement a net positive or negative for the GOP? (FiveThirtyEight)
> Let's say you believe lying is always wrong.  Do you think you'd turn in Anne Frank to the Nazis if they showed up at your door? (James Downie)
> How to eat a muffin while walking (The Incidental Economist)
> Of course, Palin can win (A plain blog about politics)

The Hendersons
There were a number of posts yesterday from bloggers on "The Hendersons", a Law Professor's family living in Chicago.  The whole thing is in reaction to a post which Mr. Henderson wrote for his own blog over the weekend, where he complains about his taxes going up.  He's taken the post down, likely due to the attention it received.  But, here's the full post (link) due to the magic of google's cache.  And here's reaction from Ezra Klein (link), The Reality Based Community (link), and Bradford DeLong (link).  There is much more written on this.  I love the issue.  Income/wealth is a positional good for those with means.  You can feel the dismay that Mr. Henderson is feeling at his perceived shrinking (relative) position to his peers. Here's a great quote from his piece:

We pay about $15,000 in property taxes, about half of which goes to fund public education in Chicago. Since we care the education of our three children, this means we also have to pay to send them to private school. My wife has school loans of nearly $250,000 and I do too, although becoming a lawyer is significantly cheaper. We try to invest in our retirement by putting some money in the stock market, something that these days sounds like a patriotic act. Our account isn’t worth much, and is worth a lot less than it used to be.

Boy, life can be tough.  Despite his economic situation, he's also in the top 1% of households in the US, which his critics do a great job of calling out.

Just because it's my blog, I'll give Paul Krugman the final word (link) on the matter.